TEPP (Telecommunications Equipment Purchase Program)
Do you know someone with a disability who could use assistance in paying for specialized telephone equipment?
There is a program available to assist people with disabilities to pay for specialized telephones and telephone-related devices needed for accessibility. The program is called the Telecommunications Equipment Purchase Program (TEPP).
The funds are provided through the Wisconsin Public Service Commission and is one of several different programs paid for by the Wisconsin Universal Service Fund (USF). Money collected from Wisconsin telephone service providers goes into the USF and these funds are made available for this program.
Any Wisconsin resident who is deaf, hard of hearing, deaf with low vision, deaf blind, has a speech impairment, or has a mobility impairment can apply for a specific voucher category (see below). There are no age or income limits. Once an application is accepted a voucher is issued to the individual in the following amounts:
hard of hearing - $100
deaf - $800
deaf low vision - $2,500
deaf blind - $7,200
speech impaired - $1,600
mobility impaired - $1,600
The voucher will come from Wipfli Young., a firm that handles the process. This voucher can then be given to the vendor to purchase the needed equipment. This program does require a $100 co-payment be made by the individual at the time of purchase. If a person is deaf or hard of hearing AND low income there are additional funds from the state TAP (Telecommunications Assistance Program) program to help with the co-payment.
A person with a disability is eligible for assistance from the TEPP program every three years and is responsible for the co-payment each time they access the fund. A person who is deaf or hard of hearing AND low income (guidelines are changed each year) is eligible for TAP every four years.
The TEPP program is designed to pay for SPECIALIZED telephone equipment that a person needs in order to ACCESS basic telephone services. It does not pay for "wants" such as an answering machine, caller id, call waiting, and those types of services. Your local independent living center( Wisconsin Independent Living Centers)can assist a person in locating the equipment they could use to access the telephone.
For more program information you may contact the Public Service Commission at:
For an application you may contact the following numbers:
Or you can contact your local independent living center to meet with a staff person who can assist with completing the application and determining what equipment is needed for telephone access.
You may also contact us directly if you have further questions about telephone equipment at 715-233-1070 or Toll-Free 1-800-228-3287 voice / tty or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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